Satisfied With Where I Am

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
                                    -Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

“I believe I possess the happy knack…of adapting myself to every kind of society, whether high or low. …And though it is a gift of nature, constant study has enabled me, I flatter myself, to make a kind of art of it.”
                                       -Mr. Collins, from A&E’s Pride & Prejudice

Does anyone else think that Paul and Mr. Collins sound an awful lot alike? 😉

File:Peace and contentment.gifThis Scripture quote has been popping up in my mind a lot lately, mostly because I don’t have that sense of contentment in all circumstances. In fact, I pretty much never feel it. I’m always looking for something more, or different, than what I have. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the gifts…I just keep looking for more.

As many of you will remember, I set everything aside in November to attempt to write a novel. It didn’t go well. I have the whole world and story laid out in my head—even outlined on paper, really—but getting to the next step is excruciatingly difficult. I can’t come up with the first sentence, and even though I know I just need to write something, that I can fix it later, my brain is seized up. I just know it’s not good enough.

In part, this is because of a continued, demoralizing failure to place the last novel…and more, because I have this growing, horrible feeling that my stories are too old-fashioned for THE MARKET…a market (or at least, an industry) full of suave, modern women who want their stories to be “edgy” and “sexy” and reflective of modern culture, which views sex as casual and my world view as repressive.

And so, I’ve spent the last month and a half chasing down nonfiction writing projects, trying to avoid having to get back to work on this novel. I keep praying for inspiration to start, but nothing is ever good enough. I second-guess.

Definitely not content.

And yet I began 2011 with a wildly successful (if not terribly productive) writing week. I have half a dozen projects lined up, clamoring for attention, and at least half of them already have a publishing home. And I woke up this morning at quarter of 5 from an incredibly detailed, incredibly vivid dream that, although it had some of the usual nonsensical jumps that dreams always do, nonetheless contained an entire plot for another beautiful love story. I woke up all fired up, thinking I could outline this new sucker and abandon the behemoth in process.

I have much to be grateful for, and I know it; I breathe my heavenward thanks every time they impress themselves upon my brain. I just wish that, like Paul, I could learn the art of being satisfied with it. Because I have this horrible feeling that I’m more like Mr. Collins: pretending to be comfortable wherever I am, while in reality, all I want is more than I have a right to ask.